Shot of a group of young business professionals having a meeting. Diverse group of young designers smiling during a meeting at the office.

How women are helping to address the empathy deficit within the tech industry 

Jamie Williams, Chief Customer Officer and Co-Founder at The CLV Group

Shot of a group of young business professionals having a meeting. Diverse group of young designers smiling during a meeting at the office.Women play a critical role in business and leadership; however, we are only slowly taking steps forward in the tech industry.

In fact, women represent just 24% of technology's job titles. Ensuring that a career in technology, and its associated areas of expertise, isn’t written off for the future generation requires our attention. Ironically, when you unpack the priorities of businesses and their growth opportunities today, the natural traits women carry are some of the most relevant requirements. At the end of the day, technology is evaluated, adopted and evaluated by people. And what's the core to motivating people to be committed, efficient and productive? Empathy. A core characteristic which is naturally and unapologetically ingrained in women.

As a female who has spent my career in and around tech, I can say it is absolutely empowering to know that I will be able to tap into a perspective in any and all situations which will be unique and otherwise go unaddressed. While it took me a long time to recognise this, it has led to a rewarding journey working in media agencies and technology firms, before launching my own consulting services business which bridges the two together. While data and technology are at the core of our offering, it is in fact the changes in and around people that require the most attention.

According to Belinda Parmar, an expert on empathy in business, “empathy has commercial benefits”, but we are currently suffering a corporate “empathy deficit”, which women can help address and use to create real transformation and effectiveness. It’s not about pitting men against women, but recognising that different qualities – such as empathy – help to offer an alternative approach and ultimately deliver a better outcome. The technology sector provides a great testbed for this theory.

As a key change-agent for my brand clients, I must connect multiple stakeholders and take them on a journey to reimagine and redefine the opportunities for deeper engagement with their customers, and technology’s role in delivering this. Elsewhere, I’ve seen female counterparts breaking barriers in areas such as product development and engineering due to their attention to detail and ability to assess and prioritise a department’s time and level of effort. As all diverse perspectives and backgrounds do, we’ve leaned into our natural tendencies such as:

  • Listening to an issue before committing to a solution
  • Understanding behavioural motivations which may lead us down an unproductive path
  • Reflecting upon similar scenarios from past experiences in order to lead a team through complex situations

Today’s modern marketers act with data and technology in mind; however, the most effective of these professionals empathise with the end users or beneficiaries of these investments. For example, when my team and I were brought on board to help a global fast-food brand address a business challenge, I recognised immediately that this client had under-estimated the politics involved to develop an effective solution. Involving multiple – competitive - providers can always be challenging, even though it’s quite common. In this instance, what the client needed was a partner to relate, foundationally connect the dots, and align each team to achieve the shared goal to deliver results. I saw this as an area where I could deliver significant value, so I led the charge and supported the client beyond enabling them to use the technology itself. Not only did this ease tensions across the team and lead to a positive outcome to the project, but it strengthened a meaningful partnership and accelerated adoption of our technology, which was the ultimate goal.

The next era of marketing will only become more technically complex, making these natural skill sets essential. As more cross-functional teams are required to work together, as the consumer’s privacy requests are central to decision-making and as people prepare to improve their skills in data, empathy will be core. Afterall, isn’t empathy the truest form of consumer data?

Jamie WilliamsAbout the author

Jamie Williams is the co-founder and Chief Customer Officer of The Customer Lifetime Value Group (The CLV Group). The consultancy’s mission is to help Fortune 500 brands navigate the complexity of consumer data and technology applications in order to fuel growth across the whole of an enterprise. Jamie's consulting approach and the group’s specialty in customer identity and data transformation has scaled quickly, boasting a 300% YoY growth.

Jamie’s unique background consisting of brand strategy, media activation and identity management with brands such as P&G, McDonald’s, EA and Sony PlayStation brings unrivaled value to the company’s clients. On a daily basis, her team of consultants help businesses navigate data strategies to develop lasting customer relationships. She is a brilliant translator of tech knowledge and one not afraid to challenge the norm, counseling clients to make strategic investments in people, best practices and technology. Prior to co-founding the CLV Group, Jamie was the Vice President of Global Strategic Account Services at Signal.


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